Florida State Seminoles 2009 NCAA Football Preview

<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 />Florida State Seminoles

Atlantic Coast Conference


2008 Record: (9-4, 5-3)

2008 Bowl: Champs Sports Bowl vs. Wisconsin (W 42-13)

Coach: Bobby Bowden (309-91-4 at Florida State, 382-123-4 overall)

Offensive Coordinator: Jimbo Fisher

Defensive Coordinator: Mickey Andrews


Returning Leaders

Rushing: Jermaine Thomas, RB, 482 yards

Passing: Christian Ponder, QB, 2,006 yards

Receiving: Taiwan Easterling, WR, 322 yards

Tackles: Dekoda Watson, LB, 46

Sacks: Kevin McNeil, DE, 4.0

Interceptions: Jamie Robinson, S, 1; Patrick Robinson, CB, 1; Dekoda Watson, LB; 1


Other Key Returnees: OT Andrew Datko, G Rodney Hudson, C Ryan McMahon, TE Caz Piurowski, OT Zebrie Sanders, G David Spurlock, DT Kendrick Stewart, DT Budd Thacker

Key Losses: DE Everette Brown, WR Greg Carr, CB Tony Carter, DE Neefy Moffett, LB Derek Nicholson, WR Preston Parker, S Myron Rolle, RB Antone Smith, LB Toddrick Verdell


Florida State exceeded expectations last year and ended up with a relatively impressive 9-4 record, including a big bowl win over Wisconsin. Now the question is whether or not Coach Bobby Bowden and company can keep the positive vibes going or if this team will fall back to the mediocre type of FSU team that we have seen over the last few years.



One thing that could make this a special year for Florida State is the fact that they return a quarterback. Christian Ponder was certainly not a great signal caller last year. He threw 13 interceptions and 14 touchdowns and only completed 55.7 percent of his passes. Those are not good numbers, but at least the Seminoles have an experienced quarterback who they should be able to rely on during the 2009 campaign. The extremely young offensive line is now a year older and that experience should be a huge plus to Ponder and running back Jermaine Thomas. Thomas rushed for 482 yards a year ago backing up the now departed Antone Smith. Thomas is a big play rusher and averaged seven yards per carry in a reserve role last year. If he can keep that up, the FSU offense could be surprisingly effective.



Over the last few years it has been the defense that has kept Florida State as a respectable football team. However, there are some big losses on the defensive end of the field. Florida State will reload, but the unit will not be the same without defensive ends Everette Brown and Neefy Moffett, linebackers Derek Nicholson and Toddrick Verdell and Tony Carter and Myron Rolle in the secondary. It is not a cause for huge concern since there are a slew of youngsters who are more than capable to step in and fill the void, but it might take a little while for the unit to be as strong as it was last year.


The Bottom Line:

The big question is how long will it take for the defense to turn into the same unit that ranked 15th in the nation in total defense last year? Linebacker Dekoda Watson will be a star and defensive end Kevin McNeil, while not at the same level of Brown, can cause some havoc in the backfield. Last year Florida State tallied three sacks per game and that really helped out the secondary. The front four will have to get pressure on the opposing quarterback or the new look secondary will have a hard time stopping the pass.


2008 Team Stats:

Rushing Offense: 179.08 (33rd in nation, 2nd in conference)

Passing Offense: 192.77 (82, 8)

Total Offense: 371.85 (51, 2)

Scoring Offense: 33.38 (22, 1)

Rushing Defense: 132.54 (42, 6)

Pass Defense: 162.38 (6, 1)

Total Defense: 294.92 (15, 3)

Scoring Defense: 20.15 (26, 5)

Turnover Margin: .00 (62, 8)

Sacks: 3.00 (4, 1)

Sacks Allowed: 2.00 (65, 5)